Each year, White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church does a missions trip. Last year, I had the opportunity to experience my first trip with them and travel to Mexico. I had heard that this year the church was planning on going back to Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti like they had done in the past. However, none of my friends really wanted to go back. They had a variety of different reasons that they didn’t want to go this time, and I respect their opinions and reasoning; however, this was really hard for me. As Christians, we are called to serve and I saw this as an opportunity to serve. That being said, the trip did become slightly less appealing to me when I heard all of my friends weren’t going to go. Thus began my journey to Haiti.
I kept praying through whether or not I was supposed to go, although I kind of knew that I was and it was more my own personal apprehension that was keeping me from accepting that. Through the encouragement of two of my friends though, I finally made the decision to go. My friend and co-junior high leader, Drew, was going to serve in Haiti for a couple of months, leaving at the end of April and not coming back until the end of June. Going to Haiti towards the beginning of June would give me an opportunity to see him! I also knew how important the ministry in Haiti was to him, seeing as how he had been down before and now wanted to go back and serve for an extended period of time.
The other source of encouragement came from a slightly more unlikely place. My friend Adam and I were definitely in the same friend group at church but were never super close. I was driving him back to campus from Bible study one night and we were talking about Haiti. I told him some of my apprehensions in going to Haiti and he encouraged me saying how he too felt that similar heart for missions and to him, serving was serving. Hearing him echo the things that I knew were true and had been thinking to myself was enough to get me to commit to going.
That being said, that didn’t mean I was super confident in why God had me going there. I knew I had to fundraise for Cameroon, so I didn’t want to ask for too much from my church family. Through prayer and the support of my immediate family members though, I was able to get the money for Haiti together no problem. I vaguely knew the people going with us, but I knew they all knew each other better than they knew me. Even on the plane ride there, I still felt kind of like an outsider floating on the outskirts of the group. I knew it would get better as time went on, but at the onset I was nervous.
As the trip progressed God kept giving me signs that this was where he wanted me to be. Surprisingly, Adam and I ended up spending a lot more time together over the course of the week than we would have thought. It was cool to see the continuity between him being the one to really convince me that I should go on the trip to him being the person I got to know the most. I also got to know the three other girls on our team well, which was encouraging. By the end of the trip, I had made a new group of friends that I knew I would carry with me throughout the rest of my time serving at WCCPC. I was able to have great conversations with some of the missionaries living at the seminary and hear their testimonies. I knew my purpose being there and I was excited to share it.
On the last night of the trip, I had my opportunity to share my testimony while around the campfire. When I finished, the word that God kept putting on my heart for the week was “preparation.” This week was preparation for what He had in store next, whether that was the changing dynamic of our youth group or my time in Cameroon. Our t-shirts from the week say, (in Creole) “where there is love, there is joy” and I believe that sentiment is representative of what I experienced during my week in Haiti. Through loving one another, there was endless laughter and joy.